Scariest Moment In My Career

Stand With Honor

Juan Jose Macias
Patrolman, Berwyn (IL) Police Department

At 1:00 am on January 7, 2015, I responded to a call of a fire and learned there was a woman trapped inside her burning apartment. Hearing her cries for help, I immediately began kicking the door to gain entry while smoke was quickly filling up the stairwell. With the assistance of my partner, we were able to kick in the door and were met with intense heat, fire and thick smoke. At this point I was having a hard time breathing, was coughing and feeling faint. Every breath I took burned. I was able to see the victim, on the kitchen floor, who was badly burned and barely moving. My partner and I were able to drag her out of the apartment as the ceiling was breaking apart and falling on us. Two other officers arrived to help us as we were exhausted. As the two other officers carried the victim outside, I collapsed in the stairwell and had to be carried out as well… and ended up in the hospital for smoke inhalation. The victim was transported to our local trauma burn unit with severe burns. She survived and is making a slow recovery. The whole incident lasted about three minutes but felt like an eternity. When asked what I was thinking at that moment… I just say I was doing my job…

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